How to Set up an IT and IT Services Business in the UAE

April 22, 2024

In today’s business world, keeping up with technological advancements isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential for staying competitive. Across all industries, companies are embracing digital transformation to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. This surge in technology adoption has led to a rising demand for IT services, and the perfect environment for tech startups covering everything from cloud computing to artificial intelligence (AI).

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is at the forefront of this digital revolution, actively positioning itself as a regional technology hub. With strong government support and a commitment to digitalization, the UAE provides an ideal environment for businesses to thrive in the IT sector. Moreover, the UAE’s focus on becoming a fintech leader and its ambitious smart city initiatives offer lucrative opportunities for IT entrepreneurs. The growing demand for fintech solutions aligns with the UAE’s vision, while smart city projects create openings for innovative IT solutions in areas like transportation, energy, and public safety.

Services like systems software engineering, software customization, cybersecurity consultancy, media content management, and software application programming play crucial roles in driving innovation and meeting the evolving needs of businesses. Additionally, the pursuit of AI research and innovation further underscores the UAE’s commitment to technological advancement, presenting abundant opportunities for IT professionals to contribute to the country’s thriving digital ecosystem. 

Here are the business activities that you can select under your license when establishing your IT and IT Services business:

6201.00 Computer Programming Activities

Computer Programming Activities encompass a range of services aimed at developing, customising, and managing software and related technologies to meet the specific needs of clients.

  • 6201.01 Designing the structure and content of, and/or writing the computer code necessary to create and implement:
    • Systems software (including updates and patches)
    • Software applications (including updates and patches)
    • Databases
    • Web pages

      This involves the foundational aspect of software development, where programmers create the instructions that computers follow to perform tasks. It includes determining the structure, logic, and functionality of software systems, applications, databases, and web pages. 
  • 6201.02 Customising of software, i.e. modifying and configuring an existing application so that it is functional within the clients’ information system environment
    Customization involves adapting existing software applications to fit specific requirements or integrate seamlessly with other systems already in use. This may involve modifying the user interface, adding new features, or optimising performance to enhance productivity and effectiveness within the client’s organisation.
  • 6201.03 Design and production of social networking programs
    This includes developing applications for social media interaction, communication, and collaboration, catering to the needs of businesses or individuals seeking to establish a presence on social networks or build communities around specific interests.
  • 6201.04 Designing the databases
    Database designers determine the structure, relationships, and functionalities of databases to meet the needs of organisations. They design schemas, define data types, and optimise query performance to ensure reliable and scalable data management solutions.
  • 6201.05 Cyber Security Architecture
    Cybersecurity architects design and implement security measures, protocols, and technologies to safeguard digital assets, including firewalls, encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems.
  • 6201.06 Network Websites Designing
    Network website designers specialise in creating websites that load quickly, perform well across different networks, and deliver a seamless user experience regardless of the user’s location or connection speed.
  • 6201.07 Computer Systems and Software Designing
    This involves the comprehensive design of complex computer systems and software solutions, encompassing both hardware and software components. Designers in this field consider factors such as system architecture, compatibility, scalability, and reliability to develop integrated solutions that meet specific business needs and objectives.
  • 6201.08 Electronic Chips Designing and Programming
    Designers and programmers in this field develop the hardware and software components that control electronic chips, ensuring their functionality, efficiency, and compatibility with other hardware and software components.
  • 6201.09 Electronic Equipment and Devices Systems and Software Designing
    Designers in this domain develop software solutions tailored to electronic devices and equipment, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance in various applications and environments.
  • 6201.10. Social Media Applications Development & Management 
    This involves creating and managing applications tailored for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Developers focus on features that facilitate content creation, sharing, engagement, and analytics to help businesses and individuals leverage social media effectively for marketing, communication, and networking purposes.
  • 6201.11 Education & Training Computer Software
    Developers create software solutions for e-learning platforms, course management systems, interactive educational games, and digital content delivery, catering to the diverse needs of educators, students, and institutions across various subjects and disciplines.

These activities exclude publishing packaged software and planning and designing computer systems that integrate hardware, software, and communication technologies, even though providing software may be an integral part of those activities.

Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for these business activities.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activities 6201.00, 6201.01, 6201.02, 6201.03, 6201.04, 6201.05, 6201.06, 6201.07, 6201.08, 6201.09, 6201.10, and 6201.11 are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activities 6201.00, 6201.01, 6201.02, 6201.03, 6201.04, 6201.05, 6201.06, 6201.07, 6201.08, 6201.09, 6201.10, and 6201.11 are exempt from this requirement.

6202.00 – Planning and designing of computer systems that integrate computer hardware, software and communication technologies

Computer Consultancy and Computer Facilities Management Activities encompass a range of services aimed at providing expert guidance, support, and management for computer systems and related facilities.

  • 6202.01 – Planning and designing of computer systems that integrate computer hardware, software and communication technologies.
    This involves the strategic planning and design of comprehensive computer systems that integrate hardware, software, and communication technologies. Consultants in this field work closely with clients to understand their needs, assess existing infrastructure, and develop tailored solutions that optimise performance, scalability, and efficiency. They may provide both hardware and software components of the system as part of their integrated services, along with installation, training, and ongoing support for system users.
  • 6202.02- Provision of on-site management and operation of clients’ computer systems and/or data processing facilities, as well as related support services
    Service providers assume responsibility for the day-to-day operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of computer systems, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted performance. They may also offer related support services such as user training, technical assistance, and system upgrades to enhance functionality and reliability.
  • 6202.11- Digital content services 
    This involves the creation, management, and distribution of digital content across various platforms and channels. Service providers offer expertise in content development, curation, and optimization to help clients effectively engage their target audience and achieve their business objectives through digital channels.
  • 6202.12- Concept & design consultancy
    Consultants in this field provide expert advice and guidance on conceptualising and designing innovative solutions to meet clients’ specific needs and objectives. They assist in defining project requirements, identifying technology solutions, and developing conceptual designs that align with clients’ strategic goals and industry best practices.
  • 6202.13 Services, management and operation of computer networks
    This activity involves the management and operation of computer networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and internet-based networks. Service providers oversee network infrastructure, configuration, and optimization to ensure reliable connectivity, security, and performance for clients’ business operations.
  • 6202.14 Auditing, Reviewing & Testing Cyber Risks
    Service providers conduct thorough evaluations of clients’ systems and networks, identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and recommend measures to enhance security and protect against potential threats and breaches.
  • 6202.15 Computer Systems Consultancies
    Consultants specialising in computer systems offer expert advice and guidance on a wide range of system-related issues, including architecture design, implementation strategies, performance optimization, and system integration. They help clients navigate complex technical challenges and make informed decisions to maximise the value and efficiency of their computer systems.
  • 6202.16 Information Technology Network Services
    Service providers offer a comprehensive range of network services, including installation, configuration, management, and maintenance of IT infrastructure and network resources. They ensure the smooth operation and optimal performance of clients’ network environments, addressing issues such as connectivity, bandwidth management, and security.
  • 6202.17 Internet Consultancy
    Consultants in this field provide strategic guidance and support to clients seeking to leverage the Internet for business growth and development. They offer expertise in areas such as website development, online marketing, e-commerce, and digital strategy, helping clients harness the full potential of the internet to achieve their business objectives.

 This class excludes:

  •  separate sale of computer hardware or software
  •  separate installation of mainframe and similar computers
  •  separate installation (setting-up) of personal computers
  •  separate software installation

Third-party Approval: 6202.01 and 6202.02 require post-issuance approval of the license, while 6202.17 requires pre-issuance approval from the Telecommunications And Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA).

Filing of Economic Substance Return: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

6209.00 Other Information Technology and Computer Service Activities

This encompasses a broad range of services within the IT and computer domain that don’t fall under specific classifications. This class serves as a catch-all category for various IT-related activities that aren’t categorised elsewhere. 

  • 6209.01- Computer disaster recovery
    Providing solutions and procedures for recovering data and systems in the event of a catastrophic event or failure.
  • 6209.02 – Installation (setting-up) of personal computers
    Setting up and configuring personal computer systems for individuals or businesses.
  • 6209.03 – Software installation
    Installing and configuring software applications on computer systems or networks.
  • 6209.11 – IT security management
    Managing and overseeing security measures and protocols to protect IT infrastructure, systems, and data from cyber threats.
  • 6209.12 – Cyber security consultancy
    Offering expert advice and guidance on cyber security strategies, policies, and technologies to organisations.
  • 6209.13 – Security systems consultancy
    Providing consultancy services for the design, implementation, and management of security systems, including physical and digital security measures.
  • 6209.14 – Cyber risk management services
    Assessing and managing risks related to cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, including developing risk mitigation strategies and protocols.
  • 6209.15 – Innovation and artificial intelligence research and consultancies
    Conducting research and providing consultancy services in the fields of innovation and artificial intelligence to drive technological advancements and business innovation.
  • 6209.16 – Technological Projects Management
    Managing and overseeing projects related to the development, implementation, and integration of technology solutions within organisations.
  • 6209.17 – Information Technology Consultants
    Offering consultancy services in various aspects of information technology, including system design, implementation, and optimization.
  • 6209.18 – Network Consultancies
    Providing consultancy services for the design, configuration, and management of computer networks to optimise performance and security.
  • 6209.19 – Managed Cyber Security Services Provider
    Offering comprehensive cyber security services, including monitoring, threat detection, incident response, and remediation.
  • 6209.20 – Computer System Housing Services
    Providing facilities and infrastructure for hosting and housing computer systems and servers, including data centres and colocation services.
  • 6209.21 – IT Infrastructure
    Designing, implementing, and managing the foundational components of IT systems and networks, including hardware, software, and connectivity solutions.

This class excludes the following activities:

  • Installation of mainframe and similar computers.
  • Computer programming.
  • Computer consultancy.
  • Computer facilities management.
  • Data processing and hosting services.

Third-party Approval: These business activities do not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

This refers to a set of services centred around managing and processing data, as well as providing hosting solutions for digital information. These activities involve various operations related to handling, storing, managing, and processing data to meet the needs of businesses and organisations. 

  • 6311.01 – Provision of infrastructure for hosting, data processing services and related activities
    Offering the necessary hardware and infrastructure to support hosting services, data processing, and associated activities.
  • 6311.02 – Specialized hosting activities such as: • Web hosting • Streaming services • Application hosting
    Providing specialised hosting services tailored for websites, streaming media, and hosting applications on servers.
  • 6311.03 – Application service provisioning
    Supplying software applications and services to clients on a subscription or on-demand basis.
  • 6311.04 – General time-share provision of mainframe facilities to clients
    Offering access to mainframe computer facilities to multiple clients on a shared basis.
  • 6311.05 – Data processing activities: • Complete processing of data supplied by clients • Generation of specialised reports from data supplied by clients
    Handling and processing client-provided data, including generating custom reports based on their requirements.
  • 6311.06 – Provision of data entry services
    Offering services for inputting and entering data into computer systems or databases.
  • 6311.07 – Data Collection from One or More Sources
    Gathering and compiling data from various sources for analysis or processing.
  • 6311.08 – Data  Classification & Analysis Services
    Organising and analysing data to derive insights and actionable information for clients.
  • 6311.09 – Web-hosting
    Providing server space and resources for hosting websites on the internet.
  • 6311.10. E-Guide and Building E-Complexes
    Creating electronic guides and constructing electronic complexes, likely referring to digital content creation and website development services.
  • 6311.11 Data Entering
    Inputting and entering data into computer systems or databases.
  • 6311.12 Network Websites Contents Entering and Supplying
    Entering content into network websites and providing content to them.
  • 6311.13 Reproduction Software and Data on Discs and Tapes
    Copying software and data onto physical media like discs and tapes.
  • 6311.14 Copying of Computer Software
    Duplicating computer software for distribution or backup purposes.
  • 6311.15 Light Archiving
    Storing and managing digital data in an archival manner, likely for short-term storage or quick access.
  • 6311.16 Cloud Computing Services
    Offering computing resources and services over the internet, including storage, processing, and networking, through cloud platforms.
  • 6311.17 E-sports Data & Analytics Services
    Providing data analysis and analytics services tailored for the e-sports industry.
  • 6311.18 Electronic Integration
    Integrating electronic systems or components to work together seamlessly.
  • 6311.19 Gaming Localization Service
    Adapting video games for different regions or languages, including translation and cultural adaptation.
  • 6311.20. Electronic Directory
    Creating and managing electronic directories, likely referring to digital directories or listings.
  • 6311.21 Internet Content Provider
    Offering content and services for the internet, such as news websites, online platforms, or digital media outlets.
  • 6311.22 Computer System Housing Services
    Providing facilities and infrastructure for housing computer systems, such as data centres or server farms.

Third-party Approval: These business activities do not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

6312.00 – Web Portals

This refers to online platforms or websites that serve as gateways or entry points to the internet, offering users access to a wide range of content, services, and resources. These portals typically provide various functionalities, including search engines, content aggregation, and user interaction features. 

  • 6312.01 – Operation of web sites that use a search engine to generate and maintain extensive databases of internet addresses and content in an easily searchable format
    Managing and maintaining websites that utilise search engines to create and update databases of internet addresses and content, facilitating easy searching and access for users.
  • 6312.02 – Operation of other websites that act as portals to the internet, such as media sites providing periodically updated content
    Running websites that serve as gateways to the internet, offering access to a variety of content and services, including media sites that provide regularly updated content such as news, articles, or multimedia.
  • 6312.03 – Blogging Services
    Providing platforms or services for individuals or organisations to create, publish, and manage blogs, allowing them to share content, opinions, or information with an online audience.
  • 6312.04 – Vehicles Auctions Organizing By Electronic Media & Smart Apps
    Organising vehicle auctions through electronic media platforms and smart applications, enabling buyers and sellers to participate in auctions digitally, facilitating efficient and transparent transactions.

Third-party Approval: These business activities do not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: These business activities are exempt from this requirement.

Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

You can also calculate your business setup costs easily using our handy cost calculator and choose from our customized company setup packages to find your perfect fit.

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